Apple Crumble Tea Cake

29 July 2012

Post image for Apple Crumble Tea Cake

I have a terrible weakness for cooking magazines. Even when I left Australia and moved to Switzerland, I couldn’t bear to give up my monthly fix of Donna Hay, Delicious and Gourmet Traveller magazines that I was prepared to sacrifice a portion of my salary to fund an overseas subscription to all three magazines (at a cost of double to triple the local price), and consequently buy a new bookshelf just to house my burgeoning collection.

On top of that, my French and German teachers have been perpetually reminding me that the best way to expand my vocabulary is to read the local newspapers. Except that reading the news in French and German is not a very exciting task for me, especially since I am not even in the habit of reading the news in English. But as I do enjoy very much learning French and German and am ever struggling to one day reach that point where I can declare myself fluent, I have been fuelling my magazine indulgence by also resorting to publications in French and German. The consequence is that I have an almost expert breadth of vocabulary when wanting to discuss recipes and cooking techniques in a foreign language, especially in German when I am perhaps using words which even a local would not be familiar with, but such a vocabulary is unfortunately not very useful for other daily chit-chat.

Such is my addiction to foodie magazines that I also pick up a copy or two whenever I am travelling, whether it is to the US where they have an amazingly wide range to choose from, or to Sweden where I have no idea what the text is about but the gorgeous photos themselves make the magazine worth buying.

And despite the volumes and volumes of magazines that are piling up dangerously around our home, I find I rarely cook from them! I know I am not the only one in this situation, but it is nevertheless a baffling position to be in. I gather a lot of inspiration and ideas from cooking magazines, whether it is in the recipes themselves or from the photography and food styling, but so few recipes actually make me leap towards the kitchen with a clear goal for dinner.

So I made it part of my New Year’s resolutions for this year to try and cook from each of my foodie magazines at least once a month. And my progress so far? Not so good. I have probably attempted 2 or 3 recipes this year, each with little success (hence, they have not appeared on my blog), which has only served to reinforce the notion that cooking magazines seem to be better coffee table material than kitchen-counter worthy. I am hoping that this theory will be proven wrong, if not to justify maintaining my expensive overseas subscriptions.

Nevertheless, I still try to make an effort whenever a recipe tickles my fancy, and this recipe for Apple Crumble Tea Cake happens to be a winner. The recipe comes from Real Living magazine, an Australian interior decorating magazine with a wonderful gardening and food section which makes me terribly homesick everytime I flick through the pages, but which also makes me feel somewhat connected to what’s going on in the land Down Under.

Although it is currently summer in Europe and the evenings have been quite balmy as of late, this Apple Crumble Tea Cake is hard to go past for something sweet and comforting when the rain starts to roll in by the late evening for some much needed cooling. I love apple crumble on its own, but this light and fluffy tea cake is the perfect pairing. I love the addition of milk and cream in the batter which helps to give a lovely, moist cake. And if you’re a fan of cinnamon, I would recommend that you up the quantities for some extra warmth and spice.

Although the tea cake is lovely served warm from the oven, it also keeps quite well under a covered dish for a few days, perfect with a cup of tea.

The recipe is also available online here.

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

The Patterned Plate 29 July 2012 at 6:15 pm

Thanh, lovely post! How do you always manage to get things so NEAT!?!?!?! Drives me bonkers lol!

I gave up magazine subscription years ago, for that very reason. Sometimes I think that having to turn out pages and pages of meals every month means that perhaps, it becomes rarer to hit something special consistently. I also find that it can be hit or miss too.

Having said that, this apple crumble looks right up my street…I love apple anything and I will definitely be making this when I get back! I like it’s unassuming appearance but I can imagine the range of textures there…drooool! Another winner 😉


eat, little bird 29 July 2012 at 6:33 pm

I have a habit of always cleaning as I go in the kitchen, and I guess it probably shows somehow in my photos, LOL!! But trust me, the rest of our home is not quite the same …

I’ve been toying with the idea of switching to digital magazines where it is offered, but I’m not sure it would solve my dilemma of not cooking from them. In fact, if I had multiple magazines stored on my iPad, they would be even more “hidden” than they are now, so perhaps fat chance of my iPad ever making it into the kitchen!

But I’m also wanting to try out new recipes more often, so when something looks good, I have to act quickly so I don’t lose the momentum! This tea cake is really lovely and something I will definitely make again.


Alice Choi 29 July 2012 at 6:48 pm

Beautiful tea cake! And you arranged the apple slices so perfectly!!! I love it!


eat, little bird 29 July 2012 at 6:54 pm

Thank you, Alice! Despite being proud at my own efforts to arrange the apple slices so neatly, the apples were ultimately covered by the crumble! So I had to do a bit of show-and-tell here 😉


Hip Foodie Mom 29 July 2012 at 6:49 pm

I’m so inspired by all of your beautiful posts, recipes and photos! Just beautiful!


Caroline 29 July 2012 at 9:31 pm

That cake looks amazingly good! I have a similar problem except that I collect cookbooks and not magazines…Soon my ever increasing number of cookbooks will force us to move to a bigger apartment! :) I don’t cook from them as often as I wish either. One of my favorites is from Donna Hay actually and that one I use A LOT. She has tons of delicious and very simple recipes in there, love it.


eat, little bird 29 July 2012 at 9:40 pm

If it makes you feel better, I also have the same problem with cookbooks! We’ve definitely run out of room for them on our many bookshelves but this hasn’t been such a deterrent for me – I’m now just more selective about what I buy.

May I ask which Donna Hay book is your favourite? I have most of her books and quite like cooking from them, too. In fact, I probably cook more from her books than her magazines, even though the latter are so beautiful to look at. I think half of my Donna Hay books are in German, something which has been useful in helping me to read more German AND find out the names of the ingredients in German.


Caroline 29 July 2012 at 10:23 pm

I hate that they take so much space but I loooove looking at them :) I am getting more selective too otherwise it would be madness. My favorite Donna Hay book is the only one I have :) It’s called Meine spontane Küche and originally I really wanted to buy it in English (much easier for me) but I visited the cutest cookbook bookstore ever in Hamburg and just wanted to buy sth there so that’s the one I got and I really don’t regret it. As soon as I buy my well-deserved bigger bookshelf, I will buy some more Donna Hay books! :) Which one is your favorite?


eat, little bird 29 July 2012 at 10:36 pm

I also have Meine spontane Küche! I don’t think I have cooked from it much so I will have a flick through tonight. I have been cooking a bit from Seasons and No Time to Cook. I don’t think I have a favourite as such but I often flick through them when I want a quick and easy dish. Hubby has cooked a bit from Beef, Lamb & Pork with quite some success. I think her recipes and brief instructions suit his style of cooking.

I also have a habit of buying cookbooks when travelling, not always recommended given how much books can weigh! I actually bought Seasons when we were last in Australia, together with 4 or 5 other cookbooks. As expected, my luggage was overweight on the flight home and I had to shuffle things over into hubby’s suitcases!


Zazouille 29 July 2012 at 9:32 pm

Your cake is so beautiful whith his thickness of cream and crumble… Really, it very tempts me !
I dream that it rains at home for such an afternoon tea and cake… regrettably, it is too much warm to switch on the oven !

PS – I hope my english is not too bad…


eat, little bird 29 July 2012 at 9:44 pm

Hello! Your English is perfect :-) Thank you for visiting my blog!

It has also been quite warm here the past week so I also wouldn’t attempt to make this cake when the weather is warm! But I first made this cake about 2 weeks ago when it was still a bit cool and thought it was really delicious. The recipe comes from an Australian magazine where it is winter at the moment, thus explaining why a wintry cake has appeared on my blog. But I think I could have a slice of crumble cake at any time of the year :-)


Lisa 29 July 2012 at 9:49 pm

I will bake this cake when our apples are ready to be picked. It looks good!
I just read your post about christmas in Perros (a bit late…) and I laughed when i saw the traditional decorations, the axe is fantastic!


eat, little bird 29 July 2012 at 9:54 pm

Ha ha!! No doubt you will see the red axe again this year at Christmas 😉 I’m not sure what it is meant to symbolise?!

You are so lucky to have apple trees in your garden. If you need to find a different way to use them, other than compote and JL’s famous apple cake, this tea cake is a good choice :-)


manu 30 July 2012 at 8:08 am

Apple cake is always welcome!
Have a nice week


Mathilda 30 July 2012 at 9:55 am

It is quite true what you point about food magazines, we could extend it to blog recipes also : that’s how Eat Little Bird is one of my breakfast readding ! This apple tea cake is gorgeous, I am particularly found of the idea of those 3 layers/3 textures, I note the idea for the time I will eventually have an oven in my kitchen !


eat, little bird 31 July 2012 at 10:58 am

Oh how lovely to know that you sit down to eat, little bird over breakfast! :-) This tea cake is also really good at breakfast 😉 Fingers crossed you will get your oven soon – I’m not sure how you manage to survive without one!


thelittleloaf 30 July 2012 at 10:07 am

I’m just like you, I obsessively buy magazines and cookbooks and only make the occasional thing from them. Glad you decided to take matters in hand though, this cake looks gorgeous!


eat, little bird 31 July 2012 at 11:00 am

I go through brief spurts where I will cook a new dish every evening or so, but somehow I always seem to keep making the same dishes over and over! Need to change things a bit here.


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar 30 July 2012 at 12:24 pm

This cake is absolutely beautiful! Love it!


TheSpicySaffron 30 July 2012 at 1:57 pm

here comes another tempting recipe from you Thanh!! can’t wait to try it soon. The cake looks perfect, moist, light and crumbly on top. The picture are perfectly neat too!!


eat, little bird 31 July 2012 at 11:01 am

Thank you! This is a really lovely cake and I happen to love crumble on just about anything.


Jennifer (Delicieux) 31 July 2012 at 2:24 am

Gorgeous cake Thanh. I really don’t know how you get everything so neat. As much as I try, everything I make has that slightly mess homemade look to it :)

I know what you mean about magazine addictions. I subscribe to Donna Hay (I have all her books too), delicious and Gourmet Traveller too, but now I’ve switched to the iPad versions, which is definitely making things better storage wise. I also plan to try to cook from them too, but only actually make something every once in a while. I’m the same with my huge collection of cookbooks too.


eat, little bird 31 July 2012 at 11:05 am

Maybe the neatness comes from Donna Hay?? 😉

I have tried a few magazines on the iPad but I’m afraid it doesn’t solve my dilemma of not cooking from them. And with them filed away on the iPad, I’m worried that they will be even less accessible than the hard copies when I need to find a recipe for something. But I’m pretty sure that electronic reading is the way of the future so I do think I need to come around to the idea quickly!


Rushi 31 July 2012 at 7:32 am

I made a similar cake once but without the crumble topping but the cake was quite dense and yours look so lovely and light so it’ll be wonderful to try your recipe out. I had to literally drag myself away from the cookbook shops in London, I was like a little kid in a candy shop so I totally understand how you feel 😀


eat, little bird 6 August 2012 at 11:59 am

I think the cream and milk in this cake batter somehow makes it really light and moist. It really is a “tea cake” and not dense at all.

Did you buy any cookbooks whilst in London? I have a terrible habit of buying cookbooks when on holidays, making the luggage unnecessarily heavy on the way home! But books are so much cheaper in the UK that it would almost be a shame not to buy at least one or two 😉 Hope you had a great time!!


Nicola 31 July 2012 at 11:39 am

What a gorgeous cake Thanh! I adore cakes with a crumble topping. I’m definitely with you on the whole food magazines issue. I can’t resist them and buy several regularly. I do try to cook recipes from them often but not as much I’d like. To many recipes and not enough time! :-)


eat, little bird 6 August 2012 at 12:02 pm

Indeed, I have the longest list of things to cook and bake but usually always end up making the same thing over and over! I’m slowly trying to change that and have had some success this year in giving new recipes a try. I probably could stop buying any further cookbooks and magazines right now and would have more than enough recipes to try for everyday of the rest of my life 😉


Nadya Harris 9 September 2012 at 11:40 am

I stumbled across this website today and thought this recipe would be perfect…my boyfriend’s uncle gave us some farm fresh eggs, perfect for baking. The Apple Crumble Tea Cake was absolutely delicious! Everyone loved it. I accidentally put too much butter in the cake mixture; I think it made it a little more dense than what it should have been, but I don’t regret it. 10/10 for the recipe. Can’t wait to try out some more beautiful dishes from this site. Thank you!


eat, little bird 10 September 2012 at 4:52 pm

Thank you for your feedback! How lucky that you have access to farm fresh eggs! I made this tea cake again recently and it was just as delicious as the first time I made it. I’m glad to hear that it still tasted good even though there was extra butter in the cake … I’m sure it’s a forgiving recipe :-)


Annalee 15 November 2012 at 5:56 pm

Your website is so beautiful, I cannot tear myself away! Your photography is stellar, and I love how colorful everything is. How do you do the writing (name of the recipe, or the ingredient details) within the photo? Do you have a website designer or is this all through a custom wordpress theme? I admire your artistry and skills, and I adore your recipes :)


eat, little bird 15 November 2012 at 7:47 pm

Thank you for your lovely feedback :-) I’ve never considered myself to be artistic so you have just paid me the most wonderful compliment! I prepare all of the recipe photos in Photoshop where I simply apply a layer of text over the photos. You could possibly try the same with other photo editing software, but I highly recommend Photoshop, even though it is a bit complicated to use at first.


Lauren 5 December 2012 at 12:22 pm


I am an Aussie expat too but living in Barcelona. I read your post whilst searching for an apple tea cake to use in my cooking classes here with Spanish children (I own a business called The Kangaroo Kitchen – cooking classes for kids in English)! Whilst reading your blog I am also have my latest copy of Real Living which just arrived here yesterday. It seriously is the best day of my month when it arrives! A little piece of home!! Keep up the fantastic blog its divine. Am off to bake your tea cake (albeit as mini cakes)! All the best, Lauren


eat, little bird 8 December 2012 at 10:53 pm

Hi Lauren,

It’s wonderful to hear from another Aussie expat :-) I hope you enjoyed this cake. Aren’t the recipes in Real Living great? I also love that the magazine is a nice way of keeping up to date with what’s happening back home in the world of interior decorating and food.

The Kangaroo Kitchen sounds like such a wonderful concept – what a great way to get kids involved in cooking and perhaps even learn English! I know I learnt a lot of German through cooking. Hope to see you around here a bit more.

Reply 26 January 2013 at 11:31 am

This cake look so appetising. I love apple crumble, so I imagine it would go perfectly with some custard on a cold evening or some vanilla ice cream for a warm evening.


eat, little bird 28 January 2013 at 2:26 pm

You are spot on! The first time I made this cake, I served it warm for dessert. And it was just as delicious the next day, cold (at breakfast!) :-)

Reply 3 February 2013 at 12:17 pm

I plan to make this cake very soon, which I will feature on my own blog. I’ll let you know how it turns out.


eat, little bird 4 February 2013 at 10:45 am

I look forward to reading your review!


Lauren 17 February 2013 at 11:24 am

Apple Crumble… My two favorite words and now you say a cake. Well that makes it even better.

I made this today, it was one of three cakes at a morning tea and it was the one that was most devoured by all guests. As a cinnamon fan I added a teaspoon to the cake batter. Next time I will add some of the apple to the batter too, as I had some spare.

This cake is so yummy and so soft and moist. The addition of the cream made it amazing.The crumble on the top, heavenly. Ok, I may be going over the top but I’ve never had so many compliments for a cake. Plenty of people asked for the recipe and the host didn’t believe I had made it myself.

A definite winner, thanks for sharing the recipe, a new addition to any occasion where I’m required to make a cake.. or even if I’m not.


eat, little bird 17 February 2013 at 12:47 pm

Hi Lauren,

Thank you so much for your lovely feedback! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed this recipe and that you received so many compliments for this cake. I’m also a big fan of apple crumble and having it in cake form makes it a perfect afternoon tea treat for me. I like your idea of adding apples to the batter – I will try that next time.

I agree that this recipe is a keeper :-)


TD 23 November 2014 at 10:01 am

Hi….loved the recipe and the presentation. One question…can i replace cream with something else? or remove it completely.


Eat, Little Bird 23 November 2014 at 10:28 pm

I think the cream helps to keep the cake moist. You could perhaps substitute it for full-cream milk, but I wouldn’t omit it completely as you would reduce the amount of liquid in the batter. I’ve never tried this recipe without the cream in the batter, so if you do try it, please let me know how it turns out. Thanks!


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